Roland, Rustic Charm and O’Reilly all made good points.
Yachts (and boats) are more complicated and therefore expensive than they need to be
- There will always people who will be sailing just because it feels so good
of larger boats may be declining (also indicated by that original posted article)
Roland, Barnakiel, Rognvald and a64pilot made some –IMO- good observations why that is so:
- Yachts (and boats) are more complicated and therefore expensive than they need to be (this repeat quote is deliberate)
- The need of instant gratification, adrenaline
- Apparent lack of spare time
- Disappearance of middle class in USA
- Sailing is not really socially high on the calendar, not Facebook like material
There are many interests groups that would like to see more people into sailing: chandlers, boat brokers, boat manufacturers, marina operators, boat owners who like to sell their boats and of course sailing clubs. All these groups have a financial interest to promote sailing!
There are many reasons why a decline is evident or not, due to different economic or geographical circumstances, political or cultural changes etc. I don’t think Ukraine
will be a cruising destination
this summer, or that the boating
industry in Iraq is flourishing.
Has a decline been really measured? Some of the figures quoted in the post by AVB3 (BTW what does this -avb3- TLA stands for? (TLA = Three letter Acronym)) indicated a decline in numbers people sailed in USA, but it was not quoting boat ownership
. Along the same lines, sales for the Jordan brokerage were still down 20% (compared with pre-2008 data) according to the same article. That indicates 2nd hand boats re-sold, not an indication of boat ownership!
Where would one get up to date and accurate figures of boat ownership, preferably by size groups? And how can we compare that with figures in the past let’s say 10, 20 and 30 years ago?
Of course if one could obtain yearly production figures from each manufacturer, add them all up to get a global perspective, deduct some due to boats lost/scrapped.
Unless we get figures which are more accurate AND we compare that with equally accurate figures of the past, we are dealing with anecdotal evidence, which may or may not be 100% correct.
Then there is the anomaly of marinas
and number of pens (or ‘slips’ as you call them is the USA I think). Numbers of marinas
have increased 3, 5 or maybe even 10 fold over last 20 years. Most marinas and anchorages
seem to be full, as O’Reilly already observed, and how to we marry that with a decline in boat ownership? Or is it just a decline in ownership of sailing boats?
It could well be that boat ownership has NOT dropped, and is in fact increasing slowly. Maybe boats are just used less??? If boat ownership would be decreasing in real numbers, then one would have to destroy more boats each year than they are newly built. Of course there is another numerical way to express boat ownership: that as percentage of the total population. For the USA there was a production of 7000 boats in?2014 (as per posted article), but one would have to add all the imports and home-built boats, and then check that total number with the increased population in that year.
I think all the afore mentioned interest groups like to see a reversal of the perceived decline. I have no financial interest in the boating
industry, but I would like to see my sailing club prosper, not struggling as it is now!
Maybe that could be a new thread: “How to improve the survival chances of sailing clubs”.